Whether tap water, hard cider (above) or French Champagne, drink up, toast the day.
I have a quirk (okay, maybe a lot of quirks), but I’m not so sure this slant has served me well. I often keep something for a special occasion or reserve it for a more audacious or celebratory moment. I’m no hoarder (at least not yet), but after a couple rounds of unexpected self-reflection (personal growth is so exhausting), I came face to face with yet another epiphany and vowed to change my off-based penchant of waiting for a special time or place to enjoy something, and to favor the goodness here and now (or at least before its expiration date or subsequent deterioration).
Pie unrealized, and a message from my favorite apples: use us or lose us.
Case in point, four years ago a dear and generous friend I don’t see enough of, Ellen, came by for a visit and left me with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne. As a man used to buying ‘champagnes’ with appellations nowhere near France or the premium wine rack, I tried not to clutch the thing like a chilled newborn.
Fast forward to my birthday dinner this year. I ran out of bubbly, but was drawn to the gleam of an orange-gold label in the back of my cluttered fridge. As an icebox fixture for close to half a decade, the Veuve Clicquot finally broke its silence and called out to me (exasperated and in French no less) “Monsieur, le moment est venu.” When magnums speak, I listen (and don’t drive). Indeed, the time was now to enjoy.
I uncorked the puppy (quite improperly I might add), bestowing a fine dent in the ceiling and a lesser example on the the forehead of an unsuspecting dinner guest (beware of the ricochet). We dispatched the bottle before a cold compress could soothe a surprisingly understanding (and now swelling) brow. While the champagne was heaven on high, I appreciated that the people around me made the moment special, not so much the libation. The bottle sat empty, but the evening brimmed full.
Lesson learned: saving this 2004 Parisian souvenir for a special occasion only sealed its fate in the can and as a cake not baked.
Is there a message here? Oh I don’t know, I just think too often we run around saving things for better days or times, when every day really is a special gift. Perhaps a readjustment is needed; use your good china, eat from silver, share a meal, give someone flowers, buy a pal coffee, wear your Sunday best on a Wednesday, pet a friendly dog, call a sibling, split a dessert, mow a neighbor’s lawn. (Uh, second thought, let’s omit that last one.) Things don’t make the day special, people do.
Don’t get me wrong; of course not every day is swell. Some days embody the staleness of a week-old biscuit or the sourness of turned milk. For me, seizing the day does not mean I have to climb a mountain, cure cancer or swim with dolphins, but it does mean I have to engage, listen and be willing to open my eyes to the people, delights and gifts around me. By always waiting for a special occasion, we can miss out on the present.
Boz is all about Carpe Diem; leave a chair empty, and he will surely join the party.
The Hardware Store Restaurant on our main drag sums it well in an old wooden sign posted on the landmark’s Northeast corner: Today’s special…and so is tomorrow.
I couldn’t agree more.
This actually was a special occasion, a sunny day in Seattle.
You have the right idea! No one will appreciate it quite as much as you, so drink it, eat it and let the four-legged friends have dinner at the table once in a while. It is all happy!!
Lovely Lovely Lovely. I had an old lady friend who had many things that were “too good to use” which ranged from dishes and silverware to pieces of fabric and trim. Let’s remember this, shall we? Thanks, Tom, as ever.
I appreciate your use of French. What’s that dish at the bottom left? Is it something wrapped in bacon?
A great post as usual, Tom. I have a friend who just turned 90, and her motto has always been, “Eat it; wear it; use it!”
The apples say it all don’t they? A sunny day in Seattle? That’s definitely worthy of celebration! I learned some time ago that saving something for a special occasion indeed results in opportunities lost. I couldn’t agree more!
Renae, you keen-eyed bacon-finder, yes that plate is laden with fresh figs, stuff with goat cheese, wrapped in bacon…cheesy fig bombs…um um good.
Here’s the ‘recipe’: http://www.tallcloverfarm.com/2211/figs-in-a-blanket-tucking-in-some-amazing-flavor
Dear Tom, I found about your website through my daughter-in-law Caedmon & son James(aka Leo). I enjoy reading it very much. Absolutely love your latest one, today is special and so is tomorrow. It is so true to use one’s things and enjoy them today and not save them for some “special” unknown future date. True for family & friends too. Hope to run into you one of these days on a visit to Vashon. Thanks, Sue
That bread looks great. Did you make it? Yes, I have had many a jar of truffle sauce go moldy and some confit of duck that saw the inside of my garbage can because I was waiting for that day.
I love this Tom, and it is so my Mother. Tomorrow will be my first Mother’s Day with Mom in my heart and not by my side. I read this today, and am so grateful. She taught me to celebrate today everyday and we never had moments of “using the good stuff” because she raised us to know that we were the “good stuff”…each other. And you are…Good Stuff, Tom. Happy Mother’s Day to your Mom and please thank her for me! Love you
I love this post! Heartwarming, hilarious, thought provoking, and still a beautiful table too! Happy Birthday to you 🙂
The widow Cliquot would have been proud. I’m sure she smiled down from the land of pure chardonnay!!
Sweet post, and oh, so true! 🙂
Me thinks you may be our modern day Horace “Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero – “Seize the Day, putting as little trust as possible in the future” For sure you got the better name, but the sentiment is the same. Thanks for the reminder Tom. Happy birthday my friend and here’s to more sunny days!
Great message to celebrate & seize the day Tom, love it 🙂 Bet that bubbly was special too.
Not to get too new-agey on you, but as Eckart Tolle would say, now is all we really have. And to quote the all-wise Wayne and Garth, “Live in the now.”
so I’m looking at Facebook, not working, just reading messages from friends. and I see that my friend Shirley, who lives across the country from me, has put up this post. I come over to read and find you live on Vashon. so do we. And you talk about the sign on the Hardware Store? My husband is a chef there. small world. and I love the sentiments here and how you describe Vashon. i’ll be reading. and I hope we meet you here.
Seriously, Tom? I’ve never known you to use anything but fine china and burnished silverware on lovely old tablecloths. Every meal appears to be a holiday dinner at your house. True, the napkins are sometimes rumply but always linen!
A great reminder. Thanks.
Love this. So true. I’m much better at living in the moment than I used to be. Sage advice, this.
There was a time not so long ago that I had my very own ‘hope chest’, a place to put everything I wanted to save for “when life normals out” (I don’t even know what I meant by that! Why on earth would I want anything to normal out???); there was the longing for a hammock that swung lazily beaneath a blue sky all cluttered with clouds, or the dress I’d wear when I was the “perfect size”, or the things I’d dare to say when the moment was just so…it could go on and on..(sort of like this comment). Needless to say, I just decided one day I was ready to live; I bought a hammock and strung it up between 2 apple trees in the backyard and spent so many joyful moments I couldn’t understand why I had been so reluctant to just get to the business of living. The best were the days my IMps and I would swing on it until we flipped completely over and landed in a pile of “ow’s” and giggles. Life is so terribly sweet and short (unlike this comment), let us each live it not just in length but exhaust it’s width as well.
Kind sir, you’ve once again brought a lovely and charming note to my day, thank you. 🙂